This is evident from the calculations of the election programs by the Central Planning Bureau (CPB). The CPB accountants examine the financial consequences of all plans, but also reveal what the party leaders sometimes prefer not to make public. This year, only eight parties submitted their plans to the CPB, for example BBB, PVV and Pieter Omtzigt refused.
With its program, Volt succeeds in reducing the state deficit the furthest, to 2.2 percent. With 2.9 percent, VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie remain exactly below the European limit of 3 percent. GroenLinks-PvdA arrives exactly at that limit, while CDA (3.2 percent), SGP (3.6 percent) and JA21 (3.8 percent) shoot over it.
The way in which most parties reduce the deficit varies. The VVD is the only party to make significant cuts in government spending, with cuts of approximately 10 billion euros. Volt, D66 and GroenLinks-PvdA, on the other hand, are increasing expenditure considerably. They want to raise many billions more through taxes, especially on capital and corporate profits. GroenLinks-PvdA’s plans include an increase in costs for companies by 25 billion euros.
All eight parties ensure purchasing power growth, with GroenLinks-PvdA standing out with a plus of 3.3 percent, mainly because the left-wing combination wants to increase the minimum wage and benefits the fastest of all parties. With the exception of JA21, all party programs reduce poverty. The decline is greatest at ChristenUnie and Volt.
Most parties want to increase the minimum wage additionally, but there are differences. The VVD is in favor of an increase of 5 percent, without an increase in benefits, although the state pension will increase slightly (0.7 percent). D66 goes for 10 percent and maintains the link with benefits. Costs: 5.6 billion euros. GroenLinks-PvdA is going for an increase of 13.3 percent. While maintaining the link to benefits, this will cost 9.4 billion euros. The increase in the minimum wage is, however, less than the promised 20 percent that the supporters had decided on during the election conferences. The CDA will not increase the minimum wage any further, even though the election manifesto suggested it would.
Although VVD, CDA and JA21 want to limit the influx of asylum seekers by making quick selections upon entry (who has the right to stay and who does not?), the parties will make significant cuts in the service that has to do this. Apparently the parties think they can reduce the influx so much that fewer people are needed there. Interestingly, the asylum locations have been filling up in recent years because there were so few people left at the IND and COA after previous rounds of cuts. Nevertheless, the VVD cuts 600 million euros, the CDA 100 million, JA21 1.2 billion. GroenLinks-PvdA, CDA, CU, Volt and SGP also want to make it more unattractive for higher educated people to come and work here. These parties are cutting back or abolishing tax benefits for them.
There is plenty of choice when it comes to housing, as is evident from the work of the CPB. For example, D66, GroenLinks-PvdA, ChristenUnie and Volt limit the mortgage interest deduction. ChristenUnie and Volt also want to cut the notional rental value (EWF). Volt is also introducing a tax on profits from the sale of homes and increasing transfer tax, while JA21 wants to abolish transfer tax.
GroenLinks-PvdA and the Christian Union want housing associations to be exempt from corporate tax, while JA21 wants to reintroduce a landlord levy for housing associations. This was abolished precisely to encourage housing associations to build social rental housing, but JA21 is, as it were, reversing that. That party wants to make agreements with housing associations to reduce rents, the VVD is freezing the rents of social housing. GroenLinks-PvdA maximizes the rent increase for all rental properties, including in the private sector.
CDA was for a long time one of the parties where you had to be for safety, but this time the party is cutting back slightly on that theme, although this is mainly due to spending less money on the asylum chain. The COA and the IND can make do with less (together 600 million euros less even), because the party believes that the asylum influx can be reduced. All in all, the police and the judiciary do not receive any additional money from the party.
This is at odds with, for example, JA21, which attracts the most attention in the field of security: it distributes 4.1 billion euros to all security services in our country. The VVD is earmarking 400 million euros for the police in particular, but also for the judiciary and the security services. At D66 they opt for 800 million, mainly for youth protection and the judiciary. GroenLinks-PvdA wants to spend 900 million euros more, mainly on the police.
The SGP also opts for police officers: mainly for local police officers and road safety. ChristenUnie and Volt hardly add to what is already being spent on safety. All parties invest in defense, JA21 the most. Also striking: the VVD is cutting 5.3 billion euros from the budget for development cooperation. JA21 is also cutting costs, D66, GroenLinks-PvdA and ChristenUnie are increasing expenditure.
Almost all parties pay for traffic. D66, GroenLinks-PvdA and Volt want both a kilometer and a truck tax. The Christian Union and the SGP are also introducing such a truck tax. To illustrate: D66 is thinking of a 30 cent tax for every kilometer driven. GroenLinks-PvdA, the ChristenUnie and Volt opt for extra money for public transport, for example D66 and GroenLinks-PvdA want to make public transport cheaper during off-peak hours. Striking: VVD has difficulty coming up with ‘limited’ additional expenditure when it comes to accessibility.
Healthcare expenditure (106.4 billion euros in 2024) would in any case continue to rise in the coming years. GroenLinks-PvdA will add almost 5 billion euros on top of this, including by lowering the deductible from 385 to 285 euros and expanding the package. Other parties freeze the deductible. VVD, JA21 and SGP are cutting back a total of 200 million euros on healthcare. The VVD does this, among other things, by no longer allowing the basic package to automatically grow with the state of science and practice.
The VVD election manifesto states that childcare for working people will be ‘almost free’, but this is not apparent from the plans submitted to the CPB. In fact, under the current government policy, all parents would be reimbursed for 96 percent of childcare by 2027, but the VVD is completely reversing that measure, resulting in a cut of 2.3 billion euros. However, a tax benefit for parents will remain in place, amounting to 500 million euros.
GroenLinks-PvdA wants to make childcare for 0 to 4 year olds completely free four days a week. Out-of-school care for primary school children will also be completely free. This costs the treasury 10.5 billion euros. According to the CPB, waiting lists continue to grow due to the tightness on the labor market.
Because BBB, PVV and Pieter Omtzigt, among others, have not had their plans calculated, a good financial comparison cannot be made with the programs of those parties. VVD party leader Dilan Yesilgöz already sneered at Pieter Omtzigt during the RTL debate that this makes his program a ‘menu without prices’.
In the previous elections, ten parties had a calculation done. However, parties complain that the CPB models do not take all effects into account. SP leader Lilian Marijnissen refused to have her party’s program calculated because she fears an ‘accountants’ debate’.
However, the ‘refusers’ had not counted on Wim Suyker, retired CPB employee. He calculated their plans on his own and discovered that all those parties are causing the government deficit – which will amount to 3.6 percent in 2028 without intervention – to increase considerably. The striking thing is: the parties that did submit their plans to the CPB almost all ended up with a lower budget deficit.